Written by: Chad Lutzke
If you plan on picking up this book then read the review no further. It’s the only spoiler alert you’re going to get, although,, the real spoiler here is the time spent reading this predictable tale of two couples who stumble across a house that initially appears to be some type of bed and breakfast, only to quickly turn into horrific maze of doors, hallways, and unrelateable characters that you’ll quite possibly want to smack the snot out of. The result is a convoluted mess; both within the story and the language itself. Trying to follow which character is in what room of the house and which door leads to where (which happens to take up much of the book) was like reading a high epic fantasy novel and being expected to remember the pronunciation of every son of every king of every father of every country in whatever magical land that has 12 vowels in it. Yes, some readers can do that, but not this one. I needed a reference map, and that brings me to the mixed reviews I’ve read.
Between Amazon and Goodreads, there are many mixed reviews for House. Plenty of one stars, however, a large handful of fives as well. I’m still trying to wrap my head around those. Certainly everyone’s tastes are different, and while I may dislike the book, someone else may find it entertaining. I will admit the book did have a few memorable scenes (and some that I would even consider creepy), but I have a hard time with the book receiving five stars from any unbiased reader.
Initially when I started reading House, I was excited. I knew there had been a movie made from the book, and one of the authors, Frank Peretti, had became quite popular in the late 80s with his books This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness, but from the minute I was introduced to the whiny, superficial characters in House and their first-world problems, I just wanted the house to swallow them up and end it all. That being said, I now have no interest in reading anything by Peretti, which is a shame because for all I know it was his co-author who ruined it. Or maybe they just don’t work well together.
I felt like the authors tried much too hard to get fancy with the prose, breaking the writing “rules” too often with a ridiculous amount of distracting fragments that did nothing but help lose its pace instead. I spent more time rolling my eyes at the attempted writing style than enjoying the fragments for what they’re supposed to do. Hit things home. Hard.
The end felt rushed and was packed full of that whole “run-to-the-light, you-just-have-to-believe, love-is-all-you-need” cliché that I can’t stand. You’ve seen the ending in movies and read it in books. You know what I’m talking about. Ultimately, Peretti and Dekker tried hard to build a good versus evil with a child playing the role of Christ (mixed with an angel) as the martyr for mankind, but it didn’t work for me at all. It could be because I’m very well educated in the Christian doctrine, and I felt like they were reaching too hard to make a connection, or perhaps I just couldn’t get past the clichés.
I watched the film trailer right after I finished the book and it looked like time better spent in front of the screen than the pages. I’d do yourself a solid, and if House is a must for you, rent the movie. You’ll have spent less time you wished you could get back.